Archive for March, 2016

A Message from Our AWCI President – Fred T. White, CMW21, March 2016

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI PresidentAs Uncle Sam says, “We’re looking for a few good men and women.” AWCI needs your help. We are asking that you volunteer to give a small amount of your time to serve on a committee or any other task that may be asked of you.
   AWCI is primarily run by volunteers. However, when you look around you see that only a small number of members are giving of their time. Have you heard of the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule? Here’s an example: 80% of all sales are made by 20% of the sales force. You might see another example in action at your church or your civic club—80% of the work is done by 20% of the volunteers. And so it appears to be true for AWCI. Our membership is at 1,500+, so by applying this 80/20 rule we should have around 300 people volunteering. Unfortunately, we are not close to that number.
    Only YOU can help to change this situation. We need you to step up and take part in a committee or to help do other jobs for our organization. Volunteers are not paid, but not because they are worthless . . . but because they are priceless. I can assure that if you answer this call, you will receive much more than you give. Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Are you willing to lose yourself for the betterment of our profession, to give a little time and see what reward you will receive?
    As a young man, I came out of the mountains of West
Virginia having grown up in poverty. I was presented with the opportunity to learn watchmaking. One thing I always remember that Theodore White (cousin and master watchmaker) drilled into me was that you get in proportion to what you give. That started me on a path of sharing with others. Over the years I have developed friendships with watchmakers and clockmakers, some dead and some living, who have been willing to share and who have kindred minds. I am referring to networking. It is important to watchmakers and clockmakers of the future—and of the present—because it will help us to survive. So, by volunteering you can start to develop those friendships.
    Volunteering is giving of your time, your energy, and yourself with no thought of what you will receive in return. “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give,” to quote Winston Churchill. My challenge to you is to give of yourself. Don’t be a part of the 80% who says let someone else do it; I don’t have the time; or my ax is dull (that is as good of an excuse as any). Be a part of the 20% who says I have a solution to that problem; I can do that; let’s try this—it might work.
    In closing, let me quote Helen Keller: “I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”  
    I hope you will take the time to fill out the volunteer form you’ll find on page 21 in this copy of Horological Times.






Industry News, March 2016

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

First 3D Printed CAD-Cut-AwayMechanical Tourbillon Watch

By Aaron Recksiek, CW21

For those of us watchmakers and clockmakers who have been salivating at the idea of being able to 3D print our own obsolete replacement parts, the 3D printing and horological worlds took a huge leap forward towards that ideal with the unveiling of Christoph Laimer’s Tourbillon watch. It’s a fully functional, complete tourbillon watch with all the components (except for some steel screws, pins, and washers) made of 3D-printed plastics: polylactic acid (PLA) or polyethylene terephthalate (PETG). That’s right, the hairspring, escapement, and mainspring are all made of common 3D-printed materials and a Ultimaker 2 printer that can be obtained for around $2,500.
    Employing an incredibly unique design, the watch layout is mostly vertical, which makes it almost as thick as it is wide—98mm in diameter by 93mm thick. Instead of wheels and pinions attached to arbors with pivots rotating within jewels or bushings, the pinions and wheels rotate independently on steel pins that are fixed to the framework of the movement. This overcomes a common problem that has manifested itself and become troublesome in the past: How do you provide enough power to the escapement and balance while dealing with a material like plastic with a relatively low strength level? If you use the traditional method, the wheels and pinions need to be larger for added strength, making them heavier. This requires more power from the mainspring, and it becomes too powerful for the plastic to be a viable material. This also solves a spacing issue by allowing several wheels to be co-axial (sharing the same axis). For example, the escape wheel, balance, and another movement wheel share the same steel pin axis. The time is displayed around the outside of the dial with a triangle indicating the minutes and a circle indicating the hours.
    Christoph Laimer is not a watchmaker (well, not in the traditional sense of the word, although some might argue for that title now). He is a Swiss engineer with a background in electrical engineering and computer science. The Tourbillon watch is his second horological passion project since taking some time away from his regular profession. In 2014, Laimer produced a wall clock also with a recoil anchor escapement, hairspring, and balance wheel. Instead of being hand wound with a mainspring, it is driven by a 1.2kg weight.
    According to most standards the horological community is used to, the Laimer Tourbillon is by no means a precision instrument. I don’t need to tell you that by having a plastic hairspring the timekeeping will be marginal at best. The plastic mainspring will leave you with around 30 minutes of inconsistent power reserve. However, this watch still represents a significant feat in the ability to take an emerging modern technology and combine it with 200+-year-old traditions. With the technological improvements to 3D printers capable of printing in steel, brass, and other metals, 3D-printed parts that are traditionally recognized in the clock and watch industries seem to be just around the corner. The continued experimentation and refinement of this technology and processes would not be possible without pioneers like Laimer.    
     All of Laimer’s projects are open source, and the plans are free and available to download to produce a Tourbillon at home with your own 3D printer. They can be viewed on If you don’t have your own 3D printer but would love one of his Tourbillon watches, he is currently taking customized pre-orders on his website The price is available only upon request.









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Aaron Recksiek is an independent watchmaker in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was a graduate of the 2008 WOSTEP class at the Lititz Watch Technicum.